Find The Right Mix With The Content Food Groups

Content Food Groups


Posted: December 11, 2014 | Content Marketing

We all know that it’s important to have a variety of content types—but many marketers stumble when they have to define what a well-rounded content mix looks like. They struggle to find the right balance between informative and promotional with their content marketing and how to create reusable content. To face this dilemma, and help marketers find the right content balance, we use the concept of ‘food groups’ that Ann Handley originally presented in her book, Content Rules. We think about the types of content as food groups, and a healthy content mix is a healthy diet! So, here’s what you need to build a robust content food pyramid:


Think of your biggest content pieces as your “roasts.” At Marketo, these pieces are our Definitive Guides — comprehensive guides to subjects within our core expertise, such as marketing automation, email marketing or content marketing. Like an actual roast, your “roasts” can take a lot of time and research to produce, but they can also be easily divided and repurposed into smaller assets.

Raisin Bran

Your “Raisin Bran” content is the kind you could eat every day for breakfast: simple, consistent, and easy to consume. You should be able to produce your “Raisin Bran” content quickly and frequently — think cheat sheets, checklists, basic best practices and blogs.


Spinach is packed with nutrients; likewise, your “spinach” content should be packed with valuable, educational information. This is the kind of content that demonstrates that you know your stuff, and establishes your company as a thought leader in your space. You don’t need to serve spinach every day, but do it often enough to keep your audience healthy.

Chocolate Cake

“Chocolate cake” content is all about indulging — this is your fun, light-hearted, purely entertaining content, such as fun infographics, quizzes, or silly videos. Be sparing with this type of content, depending on how seriously you want your audience to take your brand — it should be an occasional treat, and not an everyday thing.


What’s life without a little spice? Every once in a while, you might want to create content that challenges conventions, asks hard questions, or provokes a big response. Even more conservative brands can use “Tabasco” content to attract attention or stimulate conversations — but, like the hot sauce itself, you don’t want to overdo it.

Like personal diets, the right content mix will vary from organization to organization, but the content food group structure will help any organization save time by identifying opportunities for repurposing, define their content mix and create the right content.

How do you think about creating the content variety and balance? Who do you think is doing it really well? I’d love to hear what you think. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Ellen Gomes is a Senior Content Marketing Manager at Marketo. She’s a news junkie and loves to stay up to date on the latest marketing trends and connect with new people over social media. In her free time she frequents food blogs and caters to her very spoiled orange cat. Ellen earned an B.A. in History at U.C. Santa Cruz and an M.B.A. at San Jose State.

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What does your content food pyramid look like? #ContentMarketing

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